The officials didn’t offer much in the way of explanation when they considered a related item on the agenda during a special meeting of Commissioners Court on Oct. 18.
The court unanimously approved adopting a reconstructed copy of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget to replace the original. The agenda item was placed by County Judge Barbara Shaw.
Attached to the minutes of the meeting is an order of reconstructed budget.
“On Oct. 12, 2013, the county judge/budget officer of the Commissioners Court became aware of the fact that the original budget approved by the Commissioners Court on a 5-0 vote on Sept. 30, 2013 had been misplaced/lost and would need to be reconstructed,” the order states, adding that the reconstructed copy is an exact and complete copy of the version that was approved, signed and lost.
County Treasurer Vi Malone asked Shaw what date the budget would be effective, and Shaw said it is effective Sept. 30.
“Why is this a reconstructed document?” Malone asked.
“It is a reconstructed document,” Shaw answered.
“The first one disappeared,” County Commissioner Pete Jauer said.
“It doesn’t matter,” Shaw said. “We still have to have one on file.”
Shaw said she consulted with County Attorney Herb Hancock and an another attorney named Jim Allison and both attorneys assured her it would be legal to adopt the reconstructed budget.
Karnes County Resident Maurice Yarter asked Shaw if Allison cited a specific statute that gives the county legal authority to do so.
“I am going to use Mr. Allison’s legal advice as counsel for South Texas Judges and Commissioners,” Shaw said. “I had our counsel overview it and look at it and he said it is fine.”
“How did you lose the document?” Yarter asked. “How did the original document get lost?”
“I have no idea, sir,” Commissioner James Rosales said.
“Let’s just finish the meeting,” Shaw said. “Let’s get a copy back on file and let me get it executed and go back online so the citizens have a right to see it.”
“Doesn’t the public have a right to know?” Yarter asked.
“I am sorry,” Rosales said. “I am not aware of how it got misplaced.”
“Who is responsible?” Yarter asked.
“We are not taking public comments,” Shaw said. “If something needs to be filed or something needs to be done we will do it right here, okay?”